What is the origin of the last name Mccullough?

The last name McCullough is of Scottish origins, derived from the Gaelic surname "MacCullaich" or "MacCullach." The prefix "Mac" means "son of," while "Cullaich" or "Cullach" refers to beloved or dear. The name denotes a lineage or descendants of an individual or clan closely connected with love or endearment. Over time, variations such as McCulloch, MacCulloch, and others have emerged.

Countries of origin for the last name Mccullough

The last name McCullough is of Scottish and Irish origin. It is an anglicized form of the Gaelic MacCullaich or MacCumhaill, which were patronymic surnames meaning “son of Cullach” or “son of Cumhall” respectively. The prefix “Mac” denotes “son of” in Gaelic, and “Cullach” and “Cumhall” are personal names that were common in ancient Scotland and Ireland.

The surname McCullough is primarily found in Scotland, Ireland, and the United States. It is most prevalent in Northern Ireland, where the variant spelling “McCollough” is also common. In the United States, McCullough is most frequently found in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, although it has spread throughout the country due to migration and immigration.

Historically, the McCulloughs were part of the ancient Clan MacCullaich. Scottish clans were social and kinship groups that emerged in the Highlands during the late Middle Ages. They were often associated with a particular territory and were comprised of extended families with a shared surname. The Clan MacCullaich belonged to the larger Clan Donald, one of the most powerful and significant clans in Scotland.

As with many surnames, the spelling of McCullough has evolved over time. It is important to note that the surname may be recorded with variations in different historical records, such as MacCulloch, M’Cullaich, MacCullich, and MacCullock. These variations can be attributed to different factors, including regional accents, dialects, and the phonetic nature of spelling in earlier centuries.

The origin and meaning of the personal name “Cullach” are not definitively known. It is believed to have derived from the Old Norse name “Kolr,” meaning “black” or “coal,” which could suggest a connection to dark hair or complexion. Another theory suggests that “Cullach” may have originated from the Gaelic word “collach,” meaning “hazelwood” or “hazel grove,” which could pertain to a location or ancestral association. Unfortunately, the exact etymology of the personal name remains uncertain.

The introduction of surnames in Scotland and Ireland can be traced back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Initially, these surnames were primarily reserved for the nobility and land-owning classes. However, they gradually spread among commoners during the subsequent centuries. As hereditary surnames became more prevalent, the patronymic naming system gave way to the adoption of fixed family names, such as McCullough.

It is worth noting that the study of surnames, known as onomastics, is a complex and interdisciplinary field that encompasses linguistics, history, anthropology, and genealogy. While valuable insights can be gained from the analysis of surnames, it is important not to make overly simplistic or definitive conclusions about an individual’s origins, history, or identity based solely on their surname.

In conclusion, the last name McCullough is a Scottish and Irish surname derived from the Gaelic patronymic surnames MacCullaich or MacCumhaill, meaning “son of Cullach” or “son of Cumhall.” It is primarily associated with Scotland, Ireland, and the United States, particularly Northern Ireland, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The McCulloughs have historical ties to the Clan MacCullaich within the larger Clan Donald. The surname has evolved over time with various spelling variations. While the exact origin and meaning of “Cullach” remain uncertain, it may have connections to personal characteristics or locations. The introduction and adoption of surnames in Scotland and Ireland occurred during the medieval period and expanded beyond the nobility to include commoners. However, it is important to approach surname research with caution, as surnames alone cannot provide a complete or definitive picture of an individual’s heritage.

Interesting facts about the last name Mccullough

  • The surname McCullough is of Scottish origin.
  • It is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name MacCullaich, which means “son of the boar-fighter”.
  • The name McCullough can be traced back to the ancient Dalriadan clans of Scotland.
  • It is a relatively common surname in both Scotland and Ireland.
  • The McCullough family has a rich and storied history, with many notable individuals bearing the name.
  • David McCullough, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, is one of the most well-known individuals with the surname.
  • The McCullough surname is often associated with qualities such as bravery, strength, and resilience.

Name Rank


There are around 45852 people with the last name Mccullough in the US

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